A/N: This story was started in 2005. All 22 chapters written before 2012 (one of which has been combined with another) have been rewritten in December, 2017. Aside from changes in the writing style, major changes to the content have also been made to chapter 17 and onwards. Chapter 22 and onwards represent new content written after the revision.

Pairings: Sess/Kik (slight Inu/Kik at the beginning), minor Inu/Kag

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, the character or the story. They belong to Takahashi-sensei and respective owners. This fanfic was written for personal enjoyment - no profit has been made off this work.

Fukai Mori

1. Prologue

The foot of Mount Hakurei.

The moon was full, its silver rays lighting the foliage. Beyond the canopies was an open field lit orange-red by hazy firelight. A toad youkai and a young child sat there, munching on a cooked hare. Nearby, an Inu-daiyoukai leaned on a maple with low hanging leaves, their intricate shadows played on his equally intricate armour.

His mane was the colour of the moon - it cascaded down to his kimono adorned with the red and white of blossoms. Two magenta stripes ran down each pale cheek, and a blue crescent crowned his forehead. Gold eyes opened under red-painted eyelids to stare at the single claw held before him.

The digits slowly opened to show a length of worn fabric entwined between them. Tinted grey and yellow, there was hardly any of its original white colour remaining; only he knew it was once a miko's ribbon.

He clasped it in his palm once more, no longer sparing it a glance.

Fifty years ago, the last of his stupidity was left behind.

That stupidity was his heart, still sitting somewhere...



...deep in the forest.

The Lord of the West fought a battle. He won, naturally.

But he was now swaying. His kimono was soaked with a warm fluid that dripped down his limb. He could no longer see beyond the shouki stinging his eyes, and his sense of smell had diminished to the point that he could not pick up the fluid's pungent aroma. Still, even without those senses, he knew it was his blood that was dripping - not that he cared.

His body grew heavy, too heavy. It couldn't be helped, he mused, for his body was a divine creation - it needed more essence than what this meagre forest could provide. He reluctantly set its weight onto the undergrowth, satisfied there was no other sound but that of his last movement. Unworthy as it was, he would bestow upon this forest his presence for a bit longer...just a bit longer...

Footsteps. How much time had passed before he awoke to them did not matter, what did was that the fool who dared disturb him be eliminated. He commanded his claw to draw his sword but no such signal reached his limb. Very well, then he should tear the fool's arteries with his fangs. Yet, even his legs refused to stand, and the slightest try to open his eyes met a searing pain.

How useless. If he could, he would've ripped out his own limbs and gouge out his own eyes here and now.

"Give up, Youkai. You cannot kill me in this condition."

The footsteps paused when the voice spoke. A human. A woman. Heh. Not even worthy of being torn apart by him.

"Be grateful for my mercy and leave before I change my mind and send you to hell, Human."

"I do not fear death."

She stayed.

Something was set on the grass. Then, he heard a curious sound, stone clashing upon stone, but the ring dulled by mushy resistance. The closest analogy would be swords slicing flesh, but this sound was more gentle, though still powerful.

She was grinding herbs.

When she was done, she reached for him. How stupid a decision.

"Is your skull so empty that you cannot comprehend your own uselessness? Go back and live out your pathetic life, Human. I have no more patience to waste on the likes of you."

"Say what you will. If I do not tend to your eyes, you will lose them."

There was an urgency to her tone. He had never heard such sound.

A human who didn't plead for mercy or scream with hatred - such thing should not exist.

"I am a miko," she continued, "I will heal you, I promise."

A cool paste was applied where it burnt most with pain. Such relief was unnecessary for a lord, but as a rare pardon, he allowed her to serve him as she should.

"Speaking of which, I have yet to learn your name. You certainly do not just go by 'youkai', correct?" The miko asked after she bandaged his eyes.

Heh. Why should a lord as him answer her question? Should it not be her responsibility to know whom she served?

But once, just once he would reward her with his name.

"Sesshoumaru." He demanded - demanded her to remember it.

There was a long silence, followed by the sound of shuffling as the miko pushed something towards him. He could not see its steam, but he could feel its searing wetness by his lips.

The miko must've prepared it just before she came.

"Then, Sesshoumaru, please drink this. It is medicine. It will neutralize the poison inside of you."

"I have no need for such thing."

But even as he said so, he bit onto the spoon and tipped the liquid into his mouth.

It tasted like nothing. He could hardly feel it run down his throat.

The next spoonful came, then another, until the bowl was empty. The miko's initially quivering movements gained a sense of confidence.

"Are you not going to ask for my name?" The woman's tone was lighter than before. Without sight, he could only imagine her face - she must be smiling.

She was happy? How was that possible?

"I, Sesshoumaru, have no interest in the names of measly humans like you."

"I see," she answered softly and did not speak anymore. After some time, the leaves rustled, probably from her coming to a stand. "Do not move from this spot, it will interfere with your recovery."

With that, her steps faded, leaving nothing but emptiness behind. He found himself waiting for something.

The sun rose - that must be the heat he was feeling from the earth. He had no reason to stay, so he got up to leave.

Despite not seeing, not smelling, he still moved. His instinct was adequate.

It would've been if he didn't encounter a powerful barrier.

It threw him down. Arrows followed, shredding the bottom of his hakama to pin him with magic energy."I guess I have no choice but to keep you down by force," she said.

She, the miko...

She was back.

"Stop moving. It is no use. You are probably hungry, so I brought you food."

"I will not consume what you call food," he snarled.

"Now you will," the miko answered bluntly and pressed the spoon against his lips. He would not give her the satisfaction of forcing this so-called food down his throat, so he snatched the spoon and consumed it himself.

It was warm. Everything was warm - the porridge, her hand, her body...so close to him...

What demented thoughts! Human food was trash, but it would provide the most basic of sustenance. He was a warrior. He would recover his body, then gut this human wench to brandish his pride.

The sun rose and fell, day and night rotated. She did not stop coming, and he no longer tried to leave. Her flowery scent grew sharper, her blurry image clearer. He could not wait...

...could not wait to learn who she was, the servant whom he would order to serve him for an eternity.

On one such day, the miko cleansed off the old poultices without putting on any new herbs. Instead, she removed the ribbon tying her hair to wrap it around his eyes.

"Your eyes have recovered, but they are still sensitive, so I will be leaving this ribbon here to block out the sunlight while you adjust," the miko explained as she took her leave.

"You will return tomorrow night," he commanded.

He would not ask, he would not beg. She would do as he told her. She must!

"I will come back for the ribbon," she obeyed, "since you said you hated human things."

Fifty long years had passed...

But the miko never returned,

...to the place where the daiyoukai had left his heart behind.

Sesshoumaru stared off towards where Jaken and Rin were chasing each other under the moonlight, then shifted his gaze towards Mount Hakurei in the distance.

Thick mist clouded the tops of ancient woods, so thick, so deep that everything underneath was hidden...

As it rightly should. For it was not possible, that after all these years, he was still waiting for her.

End of Prologue - and reviews are appreciated!